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Alexis Rhone Fancher: Last Rites

The coyotes were here first! I tell my neighbors when they complain. Between the drought and gentrification the coyotes have turned brazen. Bold as fuck. Scrawny, hunger-crazed creatures. My pets are kept inside for their own good. I saw what happened to Ruby, my neighbor’s Siamese, and Max, my sister’s toy poodle. Both gutted. Almost decapitated. Carnage, its slick red a warning. This morning I caught sight of a coyote with a peacock in its mouth, blood dripping from neon feathers. Breakfast. I couldn’t get the image out of my head. Tonight I unwrapped the lamb chops you bought from the butcher. The white, slick wrapping leaked bright red. When I opened it blood spurted onto the counter, splashed the walls. I’m used to meat arriving sanitized, ready for seasoning and then the grill. While I cleaned up the red streaks on the walls, you cooked those lamb chops to medium rare perfection. Usually my favorite, I tried to eat one but with each chew the blood splashing crimson reran in my head. I spat out the last bite of the first chop, covered the second with my napkin, like roadkill. I’m finished, I said. You thought I meant the meal.


Copyright 2022 Alexis Rhone Fancher

Alexis Rhone Fancher and her husband live and collaborate on the bluffs of San Pedro, CA, twenty five miles from downtown L.A. They have a spectacular view. Her poetry collections include Erotic: New and Selected and Duets co-authored with Cynthia Atkins.

12 comments on “Alexis Rhone Fancher: Last Rites

  1. kim4true
    December 9, 2022

    We’ve known many a friend and family member to lose pets to coyotes. Of course, they live in fairly rural areas.

    Like

  2. matthewjayparker
    December 7, 2022

    They are prolific because there are no wolves left, or scant few. Wolves kept them in check, and are from my perspective much nobler creatures.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Vox Populi
      December 7, 2022

      I agree, Matthew, but we can tolerate coyotes in our city parks, but not wolves.

      >

      Liked by 1 person

      • matthewjayparker
        December 7, 2022

        And less wolves mean less trees in our forests, and more Lyme disease.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Loranneke
    December 7, 2022

    That is a mighty strong and impactful poem. How language & syntax here are as raw as the subject matter. Good stuff, I say!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Barbara Huntington
    December 7, 2022

    A vegetarian, I do not think ill of the predators who roam our hills. I lock my dog in at night and let the pumas, bobcats, raccoons, coyotes have the night for themselves. Sometimes there is a cat skeleton in the park. Sometimes I wish I could change the carnage in the world. Sometimes someone gives me fake meat and I try to eat it.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Jason Irwin
    December 7, 2022

    Nice!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Sean Sexton
    December 7, 2022

    Well actually they weren’t everywhere first—somebody helped them across the Mississippi—I’ve heard, for “Fox-hunting” or some such silly thing. But they are incredibly resourceful survivors and prodigious breeders, and their presence in suburbia and non-native settings owes much in part to our presence and displacements in the former landscapes of North America. Neither the Pythons devastating the Everglades nor the feral hogs everywhere were also here first. Guess how they got there.
    I do sympathize with your loss and caution—feel the same way!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Vox Populi
      December 7, 2022

      Thanks, Sean. I live in the middle of Pittsburgh close to a large forested area where coyotes thrive. I admire them for their intelligence and ingenuity. Although they don’t attack people, they will eat pets given the chance. We keep a close eye on our dog when she’s in the woods.

      >

      Liked by 1 person

      • Vox Populi
        December 7, 2022

        BTW, the poem evokes for me the powerful reasons for not eating animals. Blood and flesh are natural foods for canines, but not for humans. I grew up in Texas cattle country, so this is a subject I’ve thought about for a long time.

        Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on December 7, 2022 by in Environmentalism, Health and Nutrition, Poetry and tagged , , , , .

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